Creator Chronicles

He didn't get to enjoy his retirement :(

Published about 1 month ago • 2 min read

For 42 years, Uncle Bill busted his rear working at the Chrysler Transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

Not a bad career... it was labor intensive and back-breaking work, but all-in-all, not a bad career.

Uncle Bill was a smart guy. A history buff. Well-spoken. Could fix just about anything.

He was a strong, masculine leader. He took great care of his wife (my aunt) and his kids (my cousins).

He called me "The Bubble Gum Kid" — because during my childhood I went through a phase where I loved bubble gum.

Oh wait, I still love bubble gum.

One year for my birthday, he bought me a giant tub of Dubble Bubble. My parents loved that.

Uncle Bill was smart with his money.

When my aunt's grandparents passed away, Uncle Bill decided buy their house.

It was an old farmhouse built in 1900, and to this day it's solid as a rock.

(I'm sure he got a heck of a deal on it.)

Uncle Bill never bought anything with credit. He always paid cash for his cars, and he lived frugally.

He was a member of the UAW... which means he probably had some sweet benefits, including an amazing retirement plan with a solid pension.

Shortly after Uncle Bill retired at 59 years old, he came down with cancer. Lung cancer.

As I mentioned, he worked in a factory... and that factory was heavily polluted.

My aunt recalled when she'd go visit him at work, when she'd go to the assembly floor, there would be a giant cloud of soot in the air.

Can you imagine breathing all that crap in... for years?

I don't know if Uncle Bill wore a mask (probably not) or took any other preventative measures... until OSHA came around.

I mean, if he started working there in the 1970's, there weren't many protective measures in place.

Probably very few people knew about the risks of inhaling all that crap that was in the air.

Well, on Uncle Bill's last day of work, he got to choose any vehicle on the lot... and he only had to pay a buck for it.

He chose a Big Red Ram.

And he never really got to enjoy it.

See, we think of retirement as a time to live... but most of his retirement, Uncle Bill spent dying.

It was very sad.

Next week will mark 13 years since Uncle Bill left us... but his legacy lives on.

There are a few lessons I want to pull from his life...

First: Consider hazardous working conditions.

Is sitting staring at these screens for hours upon hours good for us?


Second: Live frugally.

Avoid credit and live within your means.

Third: Tell your loved ones how much you care about them.

You never know when someone's going to get a bad diagnosis.

Fourth: Quit working toward retirement.

Enjoy today, because it's all you've got.

Uncle Bill's legacy lives on.

Go buy some bubble gum.

Your homie,

P.S. This P.S. was left blank intentionally.

Creator Chronicles

by Neil Kollipara

Weekly emails about writing, habits, productivity, Creator Economy, and storytelling.

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